July 22, 2019

How Local Stakeholders in the Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium Solved Tampa Bay’s Nitrogen Pollution Problem

Travis Moore Hearne

How Local Stakeholders in the Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium Solved Tampa Bay’s Nitrogen Pollution Problem

The Tampa Bay Nitrogen Management Consortium (NMC), a unique and innovative local decentralized stakeholder organization overseen by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, has achieved remarkable environmental successes with national implications. The NMC, formed in 1998 to address nutrient over-enrichment in Tampa Bay, is a public-private partnership consisting of government regulators at the local, state, and federal levels; other local governments and agencies; utilities; landowners; and private industries. The NMC’s central achievements have been to determine what standard should be used to measure nutrient pollution in Tampa Bay and to conduct dispersed and widespread efforts to keep the Bay within those thresholds. So long as the NMC membership provides this “reasonable assurance” that the problem is being adequately addressed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) need not take separate independent action to crack down on nutrient pollution.

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